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Danny O'Callaghan On the Need to Keep Worship Music Honest & Authentic

Danny O'Callanghan

Danny O'Callaghan has just released his debut EP Son of My Father. He has been involved in leading worship in local churches for over 15 years and currently calls Kings Cross Church (KXC) home. Danny has previously been featured in worship compilations and participated in multiple events throughout the UK and Europe.

For the last 5 years, Danny has been involved with David's Tent and currently serves as their worship director. Danny carries a heart to see people sing their own song to God. For people to not see worship as ritualistic but rather a rich discovery of the Father's heart that inspires intimate connection with him. 

Back at home in the UK, Danny has an ever growing ground-swell of support from the hundreds if not thousands of worshippers who have been blessed by his worship leading and song writing. His IndieGoGo campaign saw 120 backers put their money behind what is promising to be one of the most exciting new releases in the UK Worship scene in 2016.

Q:  Thank you Danny for doing this interview with us.  You are the Worship Director of David's Tent, tell us more about your ministry. 

A: David's Tent is something I've had the privilege of being involved with for 5 years. It's been such a great honour to watch what the Lord has built within David's Tent and the way it's impacted the UK with worship and prayer. When the event first came around there wasn't many environments that could facilitate that amount of space in worship. I've witnessed first hand that something truly incredible happens when we intentionally set aside time for worship and prayer, giving God all the space to move. 

It's what a call a first love ministry. It has one simple agenda.... to be in his presence. To be with him! 

Q:  Congratulations on the release of your new EP "Son of My Father."  Why did you call the project "Son of My Father"?

A: My heritage is in Ireland, my surname 'O'Callaghan' is the give away. I remember speaking with my father and hearing about how you would be known as 'your father's son'.  Your social standing, reputation within the community, acceptance into pubs, was often held within who's father you were. I thought this was such an interesting concept when thinking of the position we stand in with our Father in heaven. And simply my identity is found as a Son of my Father.   

I think that also sums up the overall theme of the record is that we're now in christ. We're the father's delight, we're his passion and we're sons and daughters of the living god. 

Q:  One of the words used to describe the EP is "honest."   How do you create worship songs that are "honest"?

A: I simply believe it's a choice to be authentic, to be true to yourself! I try and not write someone else's song, someone else's journey... I Write my own. We haven't been made to emulate but to create! To create requires bravery, honesty and isn't always easy to be real. I strongly believe the world needs the honest language of the poets, preachers, and curators. 

Q:  Let's walk through the EP.  Let's start with "Burn."  What's the song about?  And what's the story behind it?

The song burn was originated from a prayer that I had journaled. It was actually a desperate prayer and really challenging time in my life. Simple the theme was come and burn in me lord! One of the most dangerous prayers to pray. The theme is obvious about laying our lives down to be the sacrifice that jesus modelled. Allowing his love and his life to burn within us! 

I love the imagery in the lyrics 'grow higher, this fire' to me it speaks of total consuming! My our lives be a sacrifice that you would burn bright in our hearts god. 

Q:  I personally love this song "Found."  I think it's the most intimate and most worshipful song on the EP.  Was this song birthed out of your personal experiences with God?

Yeah it was! It talks about god redefining his love within my life. One important line in the song ' I see you, I see for who you're' sums up the whole theme of the song. Being found within the father's love. 

It focusses more on seeing god for who he really is. Leaving behind perceptions of who I think he is or what region tells me. But discovering/seeing who my father is. The song focusses more on the intimacy of the father and his true nature towards me. 

Q:  "Nineveh" is the EP's most insightful song, even the title is so intriguing.  Tell us more about this song.

Taken right out of the book of Jonah. The track is the the least changed on the record from the demo's. I wrote this song a few years back.  

Essentially what i'm communicating is,  I'll go wherever you want me to go. I'll do what you want me to do god. '

This song was written in no way be congregational song. It was just written as narrative. Somehow Nineveh is resonating the most with people from this EP and I've had some amazing feedback on this song as a instrument for change in people's lives. I've been out and about and heard this song being played at non christian festivals and clubs. It's been a huge encouragement to not only limit my writing to just create 'congregational' songs but songs that can be played in the car, pub, clubs, and can still 'minister' to the listeners. 

So my message to artist's, let's keep writing meaningful art for all contexts as well as the church. 

Q:  Melody wise, I love "Home."  I also love the vulnerability in your vocals, what was going through your heart when penning this track?

This is a raw track and one that we actually were slightly unsure of putting on the record. It certainly has the most vulnerable and unconventional lyrics for a typical worship song. It's my story of my desire of 'running away'. 

It truly is the prodigal son story and what a beautiful story that is. I'm so happy it's included within the narrative os scripture and a passage that impacts me so deeply.  

I reference the border's that I've built up within myself, within my own life but through the noise I hear his call.... a call to return. I love declaring in the bridge 'Why would I run away? I'll run into your promises'. When we've played this live this has song/section has always brought the emotion out in me. It's a redemptive call and one of the key themes of the record. 

Q:  "Ashes" is such a hopeful way to end the record. I am reminded of Isaiah 61:1-3 every time I hear the song.  What was God speaking to you when you crafted the song? 

A: God was speaking to me about our nation. Speaking about a generation of son's that have grown up fatherless. Even as I type this we've had a difficult time in country. There's a lot of fear in my city of London after recent event's but god's declaration over our nation is 'Hope is rising up form the ashes'. 

It's important within this song to highlight the light and shade. I tried to communicate a narrative of hope from despair. I've never thought of Isaiah 61 1-3 being linked to the passage but yet it almost perfectly describes it. It's a prophetic declaration of what is and what is to come. 

Q:  What's next for you?  Will you be following this EP up with a full-length album? 

A: I've tried more of a singer songwriter route with this record, which I've loved. But I want to lean into worship and follow my heart for corporate songs. I'm inspired by the pioneers that have gone before me like delirious who provided the soundtrack for a generation. Inspired countless people into intimacy with god. 

I feel like there is something new stirring in the sound of many others artists and myself included that can now run with that mandate to provide the sound track of this next generation. 

So whether it's an EP, full length Album, Video album, whatever the means that's what is next for me. 

Practically it looks like the plan is do another EP before we hit the first album project. 

 

Tags : son of my father Integrity Music david's tent danny o'callaghan Danny O'Callaghan news Interview

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